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Journal Selection and Evaluation: Evaluating Publishers

This guide provides information and tools on selecting and evaluating journals.

Think, Check, Submit

Suggested Guidelines

Evaluating Publishers and their Journals:

What this is NOT:

·        A means of evaluating all of the journals from any particular publisher, nor is it

·        An attempt to provide valuation of the individual articles published in any of these journals.

What this is:

·        A way to review publishers themselves using established criteria

·        A way to review individual journals using established criteria


Guiding Questions:

·        Affiliation:

o   Is this publisher affiliated with an established discipline-related association?

o   Is this publisher affiliated with other scholarly publishers –for instance, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM), or Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)

o   If published singly, is it published by a reputable university or research center?

·        Editorial Practices:

o   Information about peer review and author’s rights/publication agreements is easily findable.

o   Editorial board members / reviewers are recognized experts in their fields

o   Does this publisher adhere to a code of conduct such as the one for COPE, OASPA, or STM?

o   Including rigorous peer review by experts in the field,

o   Of items submitted only to one publishing outlet,

o   And that peer review alone determines the publication status (that is, the opportunity to publish is not determined only by paying a fee).

·        Indexing:

o   Are this publisher’s journals indexed by well-known databases like Web of Science or Scopus?

o   Are this publisher’s journals described in standard serials directories, like Ulrichsweb Periodicals Directory, the Serials Directory, or Cabell’s Directories, or WorldCat?

o   Are articles in this publisher’s journals indexed by content-area databases?

o   Do this publisher’s journals have rankings in standard sources like Journal Citation Reports or SCImago Journal and Country Rank?

·        Publishing Activity:

o   Recency of first edition (new journals are not automatically suspect!)

o   Regularity of publishing (for instance, if its journals are supposed to be published quarterly and no issues have appeared in two years, there’s a problem)

o   Commitment to industry standards (eg., ISSN registration, provision of usage statistics for subscribing libraries, Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) assigned for articles, OpenURL linking, etc.)

o   Commitment to archiving electronic versions (esp. to trusted programs like Stanford’s LOCKSS or CLOCKSS, and/or JSTOR’s program Portico)